Jeff Dorris

Deliberations from Dorris

Jeff Dorris is the Editor of the Delta Dunklin Democrat


First and Last

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Over the last few months Iíve been asked to respond to all the messages I receive through email and social media regarding the issue of charging for the news.

Iíve resisted because I donít believe long threads of social media tirades solve anything.

However, Iíve decided to speak on it for the first and last time.

This will be the only column I write regarding this issue.

Many news organizations have instituted some kind of pay-for-news fee, much to the outrage of readers who feel everything online should be free, short of purchasing something on Amazon.

So, why do newspapers charge a fee for online news?

Because if we donít we could go out of business.

In the past newspapers relied on subscriptions, classified ads, display ads, and rack sales for our sources or income.

Times have changed. Subscriptions are down due to the web. Classified ad sections have to compete with Facebook markets, among others.

Real estate companies and car dealers have started their own websites and scaled back ad purchases.

Rack sales continue, but as reading declines, so too have over-the-counter sales.

Local TV stations are starting to feel the hurt as well. Streaming and mobile services are snatching up local television stationís on-line revenue.

Itís only a matter of time before theyíll have to come up with new ways to pay for their business.

I could go on concerning radio and 24-hour news channels and how they survive, but Iíll cut right to the heart of the question I receive most.

Why do newspapers post their stories on Facebook, then require people to pay to read them?

We arenít posting stories to Facebook. We post LINKS to our stories, which then take the reader back to the newspaperís website, where a subscription is required.

This is a standard business model.

Every retailer in the world posts links to its products on social media and hopes customers will purchase them.

Itís no different than walking into a farmerís market and eyeballing the tomatoes, corn and beans. Would you expect to to help yourself to those items without paying the poor farmer for his labor?

I understand the desire to get something for nothing. My wife is a coupon queen.

But until we truly become a socialist nation, and the government provides all, we have to continue to charge a fee.

At seventy-five cents a copy, itís cheaper than a cup of coffee.

Iím not an advocate of socialism actually, or the old adage of a chicken in every pot.

I like steak.

So, Iíll work a little harder so I can get that ribeye.

Again these are my thoughts on the matter and I will not be responding or defending the cost of the newspaper again.

All of us here at the DDD appreciate your support and hope to be bringing you the local news and your favorite columns for many years to come.

See you out there.

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